Sadly Newmarket Town’s season ended in disappointment with two defeats in their final weekend of games in the Thurlow Nunn League. The Jockeys lost the League Challenge Cup Final to local rivals Mildenhall in a closely fought game at Diss on a cold Bank Holiday Monday afternoon. The game got off to a disastrous start for Newmarket when Luke Butcher scored for the Hall from a Steve Spriggs free kick in the first minute of the game. Lewis Whitehead almost levelled the scores five minutes later when skipper Jack Watson fed him a perfect pass but his shot curled away over the head of a defender. Ollie Snaith, who had been recalled into the Newmarket squad following his recent stint with Cambridge City, was then was involved in a couple of scoring opportunities which sadly came to nothing. Mildenhall then conceded several free kicks for fouls on Lewis Whitehead and Deakan Napier but unfortunately none of these resulted in good scoring chances. Mildenhall finished the half strongly with Steve Spriggs putting in two great shots which were blocked by Ben Nower and Mark Webster respectively. Half Time Score 1-0
The Jockeys were soon back on level terms after the resumption when Jamie Thurlbourne put in a superb cross to Mark Webster who headed the ball down into the net from close range. The Jockeys were playing some excellent passing football which resulted in shots from Ollie Snaith and Deakan Napier. Mildenhall preferred a more direct route to goal and they also came close to scoring when Ben Nower had to make a stunning one handed save from a shot by Steve Spriggs. The decisive moment came in the seventieth minute when Dan Brown broke free down the left side of the pitch and put in a cross to the unmarked Steve Spriggs who hammered the ball into the net from twenty yards out. The Jockeys almost got back on level terms when Simon Swinton just failed to connect with another of Jack Watson’s teasing crosses. Final Score Mildenhall 2 Newmarket 1
On Saturday the Jockeys got off to an equally bad start when a shot by Callum Bennett in the fourth minute rebounded off James Chivers and Bennett made no mistake with his second opportunity to put the ball into the net. Jamie Thurlbourne, Jack Watson and Simon Swinton all had good chances to score before the interval but Craig Jennings came closest to scoring for the home side when he forced Ben Nower to make a brilliant save ten minutes before the break. Half Time Score 1-0
The Jockeys tried hard to get back into the game in the second half but Tom Winter sealed the points for the home side with a well taken goal in the sixtieth minute. This victory sealed the runners up spot in the League for Felixstowe. Final Score Felixstowe & Walton 2 Newmarket Town 0
Despite the weekend’s disappointments the Jockeys have finished the season in third place in the League scoring more goals than any of the other teams by a wide margin. Lewis Whitehead has also topped the individual goal scoring chart. Overall this has been the best season for the Jockeys since way back in the 1990’s and there is no doubt that this is down to the quality of both the current squad of players and the new 3G pitch at the Ridgeons Stadium. The hard working committee of the Club are planning some further ground improvements over the summer and everything bodes well for the future of football in Newmarket.
Report by Graham Edwards
Both sides failed to convert several good scoring opportunities into goals in Newmarket’s final home game of the season and the teams had to settle for a share of the spoils. The Jockeys had two early chances to score but Eamon Hatoum’s shots were both cleared away for a corner. Following the second of these corners Jordan Haverson broke down field for the visitors and his shot was only cleared by the defence to Jack Herbert. His low shot went through a crowd of players in the home goalmouth to give the visitors an early lead. However the Jockeys levelled the scores in the 28th minute when Jamie Thurlbourne weaved his way past a defender. His shot was parried away by Luis Tibbles but only to Charlie Bowen who headed the ball firmly into the net. With just minutes remaining in the half Nathan Stone broke through the defence and despite having four attackers against just two defenders he chose to shoot himself from long range. Fortunately for the home side his shot went well wide of the goal! Half Time Score: Newmarket 1 Kirkley & Pakefield 1
Mid way through the second half Lewis Whitehead set up great chances for both Deakan Napier and Charlie Bowen but sadly neither could hit the back of the net. In an attempt to break the deadlock Kevin Grainger moved Jamie Thurlbourne from full back into the attack and this move helped create several more chances. With ten minutes remaining Thurlbourne found Deakan Napier who took the ball to the line and pulled it back to skipper Jack Watson but his tremendous shot was just saved by Luis Tibbles. Napier then had a shot from just six yards out which was again saved by the visiting keeper who was in fine form. In the final minute of the game a great passing move involving several of the home side ended when Jack Watson fired the ball over the bar. Full Time Score Newmarket 1 Kirkley & Pakefield 1
This result leaves the Jockeys in third place in the league. They now need to win their final game at second placed Felixstowe & Walton next Saturday by four clear goals if they are to overtake the Seasiders and claim second place for the first time in 50 years. It is a tough ask but with this group of determined players anything is possible. It’s certainly going to be a tough and exciting end the to season next weekend with the League Cup Final against Mildenhall also taking place on Bank Holiday Monday.
Match Report by Graham Edwards
Newmarket Town were out to make amends for their defeat at Humber Doucy Lane last November in the return fixture at the Ridgeons Stadium on Saturday. The Jockeys were without three members of their regular squad and matters were made worse when the influential Jamie Thurlbourne injured his back in the warm up and withdrew from the match. However the three Under 18 players (Eamon Hatoum, Alistair Conway and Ethan Murphy) who filled the vacant spots did the Club proud in yet another highly entertaining game on the recently maintained 3G pitch at the Ridgeons Stadium.
The visitors started the match with all guns blazing and Ben Nower had to make three awesome saves in the first fifteen minutes from great shots by Danny Thrower (twice) and Kyron Andrews. The Jockeys responded with a powerful shot from Austen Diaper which the defenders just managed to scramble away from the goalmouth. The Ipswich defence could not however prevent Deakan Napier from scoring seconds later when his formidable shot from just outside the box took a very slight deflection off a defender and hit the back of the net. Ben Nower then pulled off another spectacular save from Jack Severy following a good build up involving several of the Ipswich front line.
Seven minutes before the break the Jockeys increased their lead. An intended clearance by the defence only found Deakan Napier who quickly fed the ball to the on rushing Eamon Hatoum. The youngster drove the ball forward and hit a tremendous left foot shot to score his first senior goal for the Jockeys. Just before the break Ipswich pulled a goal back when Jack Severy hit the back of the net with a shot which Ben Nower had little chance of stopping. Half Time Score: Newmarket 2 Ipswich 1
The visitors started the second half in determined style and the vastly experienced Danny Thrower scored from a very tight angle to level the scores. Ten minutes later Austen Diaper received a delightful through ball from Simon Swinton in midfield and his volley rocketed into the top corner of the net to restore the home side’s lead. Mid way through the half Deakan Napier beat a defender with one of his typical weaving runs and his perfect pass found the League’s leading goalscorer, Lewis Whitehead free in front of goal and he made no mistake in scoring his thirty third goal of the season. Final Score: Newmarket 4 Ipswich 2
This win kept the Jockeys firmly in contention for a great end to the season. Fourth placed Gorleston lost away at Hadleigh to virtually end their hopes of a top three finish. The Jockeys remain one point behind second placed Felixstowe & Walton with everything left to play for in the final three fixtures.
Man of the Match : Jointly awarded to Ben Nower and Eamon Hatoum by Manager Kevin Grainger.
Match Report by Graham Edwards
The Jockeys moved up to within one point of second place in the Thurlow Nunn Premier Division table following this totally dominant display against lowly Wivenhoe Town. The home side created only a handful of chances to score whereas the free-flowing attacking style of the Jockeys enabled them to rack up a very impressive tally of goals.
The first goal came in just the fourth minute when Jack Watson passed the ball to Lewis Whitehead on the edge of the box. His centre found Austen Diaper unmarked in front of goal and he simply tapped the ball into the net. Eight minutes later the Jockeys doubled their lead Lewis Whitehead fired the ball from out on the left. The ball was heading into the goal but it took a wicked deflection off a defender to give the home keeper, Ben Gallifant, no chance of stopping the ball.
The home side’s first chance of the game came in the twenty fourth minute when Joe McCracken chipped the ball over the advancing Ben Nower to score. Within a minute however the Jockeys restored their two goal advantage when Paul Betson volleyed the ball from out on the left into the net. Six minutes later Charlie Bowen was knocked to the ground inside the penalty area in a clumsy challenge. Skipper Jack Watson stepped up to score from the resulting penalty. Lewis Whitehead then had two great chances to score in quick succession but sadly each time his shot went just over the bar. However the Jockeys increased their lead with minutes remaining in the first half when Simon Swinton cleverly rounded a defender and found Austen Diaper who scored his second goal of the game. Half Time Score: Wivenhoe 1 Newmarket 5
The Jockeys started the second half in an equally determined mood with some great flowing football. Within three minutes Jack Watson laid on a perfect pass to Lewis Whitehead who received the ball out on the left. He then evaded two defenders before rounding the home keeper to score. Fifteen minutes later Deakan Napier put in a cross from the right which Austen Diaper headed expertly into the net to complete his hat trick of goals. On the half hour Napier once again turned provider as he weaved his way through several defenders before passing the ball to Lewis Whitehead who also completed a hat trick of goals. Within a minute Deakan Napier turned from provider to scorer when he lobbed the ball over Ben Gallifant and into the net. With just a few minutes remaining on the clock Austen Diaper ran down the wing and passed the ball to Paul Betson who scored his second goal of the game. Final Score Wivenhoe 1 Newmarket 10
This was a very painful afternoon for the home supporters but the travelling fans and officials went home to Suffolk in jubilant mood. The Jockeys had dominated the game from start to finished, played some truly entertaining, attacking football and scored some high quality goals. With both Gorleston and Felixstowe & Walton losing Newmarket moved up to within one point of second place in the League table. The Jockeys move on to play two games over Easter. They are at home to Ipswich Wanderers on Saturday and then make the short trip to Ely on Easter Monday.
Man of the Match: Paul Betson for his all round brilliant performance and for his brace of goals.
Match report by Graham Edwards
A bumper crowd at the Ridgeons Stadium on Saturday were treated to an extremely entertaining match with eight absolutely top class goals being scored in total. There could have been even more goals in the game had it not been for a brilliant display by teenage goalkeeper Ollie Froud. The Jockeys’ Under 18 keeper was making his first team debut for the Jockeys in the absence of Ben Nower whose wife went into labour just hours before kick off. Froud made four superb saves in the first half alone as part of an excellent all round display of goalkeeping.
The Jockeys started the scoring bonanza in the twentieth minute when Jamie Thurlbourne put in a pinpoint cross which Austen Diaper headed firmly into the net from the back post . Shortly afterwards Charlie Bowen went back into the changing rooms for treatment to a bad gash on his forehead. Rovers took full advantage of their one man advantage as Rafal Wozniak scored from the edge of the 6 yard box to level the scores. Two minutes later the Jockeys restored their lead following a foul by Luke Haines on the Jockeys’ skipper Jack Watson. Paul Betson received the ball from the resulting free kick and he centred to Deakan Napier who headed home. Froud then made two one handed saves from Luke Haines and Jordan Palmer respectively before the Jockeys increased their lead. Jack Watson hit a powerful shot which was turned into the path of Lewis Whitehead and the League’s leading goalscorer made no mistake in scoring from short range. However Luke Haines swiftly reduced the deficit with a cracking goal which was a fair reward for his first half efforts. With less than a minute remaining before the half time break young Ollie Froud was again called on to make two outstanding saves to keep Rovers at bay. Half Time Score: 3-2
Within two minutes of the restart Jamie Thurlbourne hit a typical long range effort which curled magnificently over the visiting keeper, Charlie Turner, and into the net. Ten minutes later Austen Diaper got his second goal of the game with a thunderbolt shot from the edge of the box. Plucky Rovers tried hard to get back into the game and Froud pulled off yet another fabulous save from a stinging shot from substitute Rory Jebb. With seconds remaining Haverhill got some further reward for their efforts when Ben Bradley scored from close range. Final Score: 5-3
A brace by Deakan Napier was enough to secure all three League points for the Jockeys from their long away trip to the Norfolk coast on Saturday. Both sides struggled to play entertaining football on a bobbly pitch in an uninspiring first half. The first real attack of note came from the home side in the tenth minute when Haydn Davies beat two defenders in a clever passing move but his final shot was wide of the mark. Ten minutes later the Jockeys put some good passes together themselves when Jamie Thurlbourne, Jack Watson and James Seymour combined but Seymour’s shot was blocked on the line by a defender’s outstretched leg. The only other decent scoring opportunity of the half also fell to James Seymour when his overhead kick went just over the bar three minutes before the break. Half time score 0-0Within five minutes of the restart Deakan Napier hit a powerful shot from the edge of the box. The goalkeeper, Elvijs Putnins, managed to get one hand to to the ball but it hit the inside of the post and went into the net. The hosts fought hard to get back on level terms with Sean Perfect and Haydn Davies both having good chances to score. However the Jockeys doubled their lead in the seventy fifth minute when James Seymour took on the defence and put the ball out wide to Lewis Whitehead. His cross found Deakan Napier who struck the ball firmly into the net. Five minutes later Austen Diaper laid on a perfect pass to Paul Betson whose shot went just wide of the post. With just minutes remaining both sides had further good chances to score. Ben Nower did well to tip over a stinging shot from point blank range before the ball was taken down to the other end of the pitch by Paul Betson. His pass found skipper Jack Watson but sadly his shot sailed just over the bar. Final Score: Great Yarmouth 0 Newmarket 2
The Jockeys are without a match next weekend . The next game sees them entertain Haverhill Rovers in a local derby at the Ridgeons Stadium on Saturday 1st April.
The Jockeys bowed out of the Suffolk Premier Cup at the semi-final stage but the scoreline does not truly reflect a battling performance by the Jockeys who can hold their heads up high in defeat.
The game was played at Needham Market in front of a healthy crowd of 143 spectators. Lowestoft who play in the Premier Division of the Ryman League were clear favourites to win the game and they started like a house on fire. In the first fifteen minutes they mounted a series of threatening attacks and put in numerous good shots on target. However the back four of Newmarket plus Ben Nower in goal repulsed every effort by the Trawler Boys. The stout defence on display resulted in the Jockeys raising their game and this put them in control of the match for a long period. In the fifteenth minute Jamie Thurlbourne put in a delightful through ball to Lewis Whitehead whose powerful shot curled agonisingly wide of the post. Five minutes later it was the turn of Luke Seaber-Shinn to lay on a pass for the front man but again Whitehead’s shot went just wide. Five minutes after that Jamie Thurlbourne hit a ball over the top of the defence but this time Whitehead shot just over the bar. Jamie Thurlbourne and Austen Diaper then both came close to scoring before Lowestoft broke down field to score against the run of play. The right back, Harry Barker laid on a perfect cross to the advancing Jamie Forshaw who forcefully put the ball into the net.
Half time score: Newmarket 0 Lowestoft 1
The second half resulted in fewer chances for both sides but the Jockeys fought very hard to get back into the game with skipper Jack Watson trying his hardest to rally his troops. The best chance for the Jockeys came midway through the half when Austen Diaper put in an audacious overhead kick which sailed just over the bar. Moments later Harvey Hodd, who had impressed throughout the game, hit a wicked shot which Ben Nower did really well to save. Kevin Grainger then sent on the diminutive Deakan Napier from the bench and he started to terrorise the Lowestoft defenders with some typical bursts of speed as the Jockeys desperately tried to level the scores. Sadly however with less than a minute remaining Nico Cotton latched on to a loose ball on the edge of the Jockey’s box and rifled his shot along the ground into the far corner of the net.
Final score Newmarket 0 Lowestoft 2
The final score somewhat flattered the Trawler Boys and the Jockeys demonstrated in this game that they can mix it with a team who play two levels higher than them in the non-league pyramid. The Jockeys performance drew wide praise from all sides and puts them in good heart for their next trip to the popular seaside resort of Great Yarmouth on Saturday and for the remainder of the season.
Newmarket Town let a two goal lead against Walsham-le-Willows slip for the second time this season on Saturday. This defeat could prove very costly indeed as the Jockeys battle for a top finish in the League this season. The home side got off to a really good start with numerous chances to score in the first half. In the fifteenth minute some clever passing between Simon Swinton, Lewis Whitehead and Jamie Thurlbourne ended with Jamie Thurlbourne beating two defenders and scoring from the edge of the box. Ten minutes later the same three players were again involved but Simon Swinton’s shot was straight into the arms of the keeper, Craig Brand. Moments later Jamie Thurlbourne again beat two defenders but his powerful shot hit the post and went out for a goal kick.
Five minutes later Jamie Thurlbourne was again in the thick of the action and his through ball to Austen Diaper was skilfully hit over the head of the advancing keeper and into the net. With ten minutes remaining before the break Ryan Gibbs crossed the ball to Andrew Wood who simply side footed the ball into the net. From the kick off Austen Diaper put Lewis Whitehead through and the visiting keeper Craig Brand made a brilliant one handed save from his stinging shot. Minutes before the half finished Mark Webster unfortunately handled the ball in th penalty area and Andrew Wood scored from the spot to level the scores. Half Time Score: Newmarket 2 Walsham-le-Willows 2
Within six minutes of the resumption in play Walsham took the lead for the first time in the game when Andrew Wood hit a well taken goal. The Jockeys tried desperately to get back on to level terms and there was some end to end attacking football to entertain the crowd. Try as they might however the Jockeys failed to score and on the stroke of the final whistle that man Andrew Wood hit the back of the net again to make sure of all three points for the visitors.
Full Time Score Newmarket 2 Walsham-le-Willows 4
Man of the Match: Andrew Wood of Walsham-le-Willows
Newmarket made the short trip to Long Melford for a rare Friday night league game and came away with all three points from a very entertaining match between two teams in a current good run of form. The home side started the game with a lot of pace up front with Hassan Ally in particular looking dangerous. The Jockeys soon got up to speed however with shots from Jamie Thurlbourne, Austen Diaper and Deakan Napier. New signing from Soham, Simon Swinton, readily slotted into the team – he has known several of the Jockeys for many years and regularly plays with them on Sundays. Simon ran some very good lines throughout the game and showed some neat touches as he laid on some excellent passes from midfield to the front line.
Twenty eight minutes into the game Jamie Thurlbourne hit a superb volley from twenty yards to give the Jockeys the lead and this seemed to unsettle the home team. Ten minutes before half time Austen Diaper headed just over the bar from a Thurlbourne corner. However in the last minute of the first half Ben Nower was called upon to make a brilliant save from a powerful header from Scott Sloots at point blank range.
Half Time Score: Long Melford 0 Newmarket Town 1
Twenty minutes after the restart Michael Runicles levelled the scores with a well taken goal but within two minutes the Jockeys dramatically hit back to establish a two goal lead. Deakan Napier put in a cross which found the League’s leading goal scorer, Lewis Whitehead whose shot took a wicked deflection past Darren Moyes in the Long Melford goal. Moyes was not having much luck as within moments Jamie Thurlbourne‘s shot from an impossibly tight angle turned into the net off the despairing keeper. Jamie Thurlbourne completed his hat-trick in the eighty first minute with arguably his best goal of the game. Collecting the ball thirty yards out wide on the right he cleverly cut inside and hammered the ball with his favoured left foot into the top corner of the net. Long Melford were then awarded a penalty a minute later as Ben Nower brought down substitute Nathan Rowe. Will Wingfield stepped up to score from the spot in his 100th appearance for the Villagers despite Nower’s best efforts to make up for his error.
Final Score Long Melford 2 Newmarket Town 4
Even scoring a hat-trick was not quite enough to win Jamie Thurlbourne the man of the match award which deservedly went to Mark Webster to mark his outstanding contribution to the Jockey’s defence on the night. It was particularly pleasing to see so many Jockey’s fans in the crowd of 106 and they must have travelled home like the players and management in a very happy mood indeed. This win took the Jockeys, albeit temporarily, up to second place in the Premier Division of the Thurlow Nunn League.
Match Report by Graham Edwards